Shortly after President Kennedy's death, Ms. Eva Adams, the Director of the Mint, telephoned Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, Gilroy Roberts at the Philadelphia Mint to inform him that serious consideration was being given to placing President Kennedy's portrait on a coin. The quarter dollar, half dollar or the one dollar were being discussed.November 27, Ms. Adams called again and informed him that the half dollar had been chosen since Mrs. Kennedy did not want to replace Washington on the quarter dollar. Ms. Adams also informed Roberts that he was to use the profile portrait that appears on the Mint list medal for President Kennedy. The reverse was to display the President's Seal.Two complications stood in the way of immidate production. First, there was a nation wide coin shortage, and Half dollars of one type or the other were needed soon. The second was a legal problem; the Franklin Half Dollar had only been in production 15 years (short of the 25 years required by congress). The Franklin Half replacement would require an act of Congress. With suprising speed, the Act of December 30, 1963 cleared the way for the Kennedy half dollar.The first regular-issue Kennedy half dollars began production at the Denver Mint, and the Philadelphia Mint followed suit the week after and were released to the public on March 24, 1964. Despite limiting the number of coins an individual could buy, banks were quickly sold out. Few of these coins were actually circulated. Many became keepsakes cherished by many Americans as well as foreign admirers.
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